Curriculum development in nursing education is a means to arrange, employ and assess learning opportunities. Nursing curriculum is built on philosophical foundations and is generally structured to incorporate that philosophy by considering the nature of knowledge, how students learn it and what teaching approach will best impart it.
Linear nursing education models are objectives-driven, emphasizing desired student-nurse outcomes. Objectives or specific behaviors are established and a step-by-step program is developed to teach students and achieve desired outcomes. As an educational blueprint, linear models can be assessed to determine if the stated objectives have been reached.
Cyclic models portray nursing curriculum development as a coherent and logical procedure involving five specific mechanisms including situational analysis, choice of objectives, content selection and arrangement, methods selection and arrangement and learning assessment. This model assumes that what is being taught is circular with no specific starting or ending point.
A third nursing education curriculum model is the dynamic model. Complex, flexible, interactive and dynamic, this model encourages curriculum development participants to debate, argue and discuss the curriculum approach until arriving at an agreed-upon result. The model urges nursing educators, nurses, doctors, students and health care community leaders to have involvement and input in the curriculum design and development.
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